Joanie Leeds (born October, 1978, in Miami, Florida) is a musician best known for her work as a children's musical artist. Leeds plays guitar and sings in the band Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights.
Growing up in Miami, Florida (legal name Joan Leibowitz), Joanie took voice lessons as a child and was involved in school choirs and musical theater performances throughout her high school years. She taught herself how to play guitar and began song-leading at her summer camp and youth group conventions. As a musical theater and drama major at Syracuse University, she began writing her own original music and recorded her first album her senior year of college. After graduating, she began writing and recording children's music and began working as a children's music specialist at preschools in New York City.
In 2000, she recorded her first full length CD, My Job Application Knows More about Me That You Do while finishing her senior year of Syracuse. After graduating, she moved to New York City and took a bartending job at the Greenwich Village music club, The Bitter End, and sang with her band as a professional rock musician. She started her own record label, Limbostar, along with her own publishing company through BMI, Zameret Music.
For 7 years, Joanie sang in clubs such as The Living Room, CBGB's Gallery, Arlene's Grocery, The Bitter End and many others. In 2003 she recorded Soul From My Footsteps produced by Richard Oliver Furch at Tribase Productions and Chris Benelli. "Joanie tried her hand at about ten different day gigs (Real Estate Agent, Miramax Films Casting Assistant, Epic Records PR assistant) until a friend suggested that she get a job where she could sing with kids during the day and perhaps sleep at night. You could say that Joanie found (as in "discovered") herself, managing one of the Manhattan Gymboree Play & Music locations and singing with and for kids all day long. The nocturnal club scene was fun, but making music with children was real fun".
In 2006, she began working and singing at Gymboree Play & Music and managed the Upper West Side location. Inspired by the children in her classes, she began writing music for kids and shortly after left Gymboree to start her own birthday party business singing her original songs. With some of her musician friends, Harris Cohen, Brad Levy, Ben Whetsel, Ben Elkin and producer/mixer/engineer Kelly E. Harnett, she put out her first children's album, City Kid, which won a Parents' Choice Award. The album contained original songs like "Sushi" and "Blast Off", along with covers of "Our House" and Otis Redding's "Happy Song".
"2009 was a banner year for Joanie Leeds, with gigs in NYC, Los Angeles, Miami, Baltimore, The Hamptons, Memphis, Nashville, Asheville (NC), Cleveland (GA), and Washington, DC. Joanie was a guest on radio shows in Miami and Nashville and appeared on Good Morning Maryland (WMAR/ABC-TV, Baltimore). Her songs have been spinning regularly on The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl and other kindie rock radio programs and podcasts, and she released two music videos to YouTube". She also co-wrote a Jewgrass (Jewish Bluegrass) album with friend and Banjo player Matthew Check and released "Challah, Challah" in September 2009.
In 2010, Leeds released a full length DVD, 'City Kid Live' directed by Miami based Emmy Award Winning Editor and director, AJ Nichols. It includes 3 music videos, a live concert and bonus features. Also released in 2010 is her second album, I'm A Rockstar, which features the Saturday Night Live inspired parody "More Cowbell" and the environmentally friendly, "I Wanna Be Green". I'm A Rock Star was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee in the summer of 2009 with Zodlounge Music, a music production company and the titled track, 'I'm A Rock Star' was awarded a finalist position in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. and she was awarded an IMA (Independent Music Awards)for best children's song.
Following the success of 'I'm A Rock Star' Joanie quickly released, 'What A Zoo', an animal themed CD which stand out tracks such as 'Happy As A Clam' and 'Tofurky' became frequently played on the radio stations such as XM/Sirius Satellite. 'Tofurky' was also used by the Tofurky company as their official theme song for the Thanksgiving holiday. Another Parent's Choice award and a NAPPA Gold Award (National Parenting Publications Awards) were given for songs from this album. 'Happy As A Clam' was a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition and People and Parents Magazine both listed 'What A Zoo' as their top children's CDs of 2011.
In November 2012, Joanie Leeds married drummer, Dan Barman and worked on her latest CD which was released in June of 2013, 'Bandwagon'.
Joanie currently is currently writing her next children's album and plays with her band, The Nightlights, at children's venues across the country.
Soul From My Footsteps (2003)
City Kid (2008)
Challah, Challah (2009)
I'm A Rock Star (2010)
What A Zoo (2011)
City Kid Live (2010)